Archive for the ‘Course Assignments’ Category

This is a blog I have created to showcase my work for a M Ed, IT course at Memorial University of Newfoundland.


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Technology Culture/ Sustaining Learning growth


Technology Culture/ developmental Prerogatives

  • Learning has become more context and student specific (Kukulska Hulme)
  • Enrichment or IPP’s as needed


Technology Culture/ Social responsibility

  • Facebook groups
  • Podcasting
  • Twitter (word gets out fast)


Technology Culture/Perceptions of Individuals


Technology Culture/ Personal Motivation

  • Technology can increase student engagement (Attwood) 
  • Allows students to be better organized – email reminders, school / teacher web page for reference, etc. 


Culture In Technology/ Sustaining Learning growth

  • Allows for inclusion
  • “Every child can learn (HRSB)


Culture In Technology / developmental Prerogatives

  • Want things fast, choose the fastest/easiest way (Attwood)


Culture In Technology / Social responsibility

  • Global village – help others
  • Can see the strife of others more vividly


Culture In Technology /Perceptions of Individuals

  • Focus on expressing oneself makes for customization of apps, programs,  etc.


Culture In Technology / Personal Motivation

  • Hindered personal motivation / perseverance for extended activities because everything online  is instant (Attwood)


Learning In Technology Culture/ Sustaining Learning growth

  • Using media to aid in subject learning not just using a media for the sake of using the technology (Puffenberger)
  • Better prepares students for an unknown future (Kessler)


Learning In Technology Culture / developmental Prerogatives

  • Students felt they best learned when a course was delivered 50% and 50% interactive classes (Roberts)
  • Students can choose the way to best show their knowledge
  • Makes learning ‘real’ Kessler


Learning In Technology Culture / Social responsibil

  • Can see real life examples of socially aware topics (i.e. Skype with kids around the world)
  • Can organize projects from the other side of the world (Kiva, Sopar, etc.)
  • Can more vividly capture the teachable moment


Learning In Technology Culture /Perceptions of Individuals

  • Customized programming for students
  • Greater opportunities for extended reflection and student centered growth (Terrell)


Learning In Technology Culture / Personal Motivation

  • Helped with learning because students excited to bring ‘ their world’ into the classroom


Learning Without Technology/ Sustaining Learning growth

  • Learning more strongly relies on the teacher’s experience (Roberts)


Learning Without Technology / developmental Prerogatives

  • Doesn’t allow diverse learners to do their best
  • Doesn’t allow students to develop and familiarize with skill skills for a modern workplace


Learning Without Technology / Social responsibility

  • Allows for traditional academic expectations and research skills to emphasized (Attwood)


Learning Without Technology /Perceptions of Individuals

  • One size fits all thinking


Learning Without Technology / Personal Motivation

  • Not waste time ‘playing’ with interesting features
  • Focus on content
  • Technology as a  gimmick may be motivation in and of itself  for  some students

Open Source

          It seems to me that open source software and hardware is yet one more thing in our world that has so much potential but once human nature takes over and greed enters the picture, it is it hard to decide if it is a blessing or a curse.

          The idea of grassroots programmers making these community minded programs for students or small businesses is hard to argue against.  It seems to be a great idea in a passing glance and we are a world who needs such things. Think about limited access to expensive programs for students, non for profit groups and those in developing areas. Also, think about businesses being able to use a low cost, customized program for their company that works efficiently for their specific business. The source of the controversy seems to come into play once individuals or groups start to want to benefit monetarily from using open source code to create a new/ improved program.

          The idea of not being able to claim your own work after you have created it because you have developed it using open source code seems to go against everything that open source was created to be in the first place; a place to share info and make advancements and further develop seedling ideas. Again, money seems to be the driving force behind the ethics of open source code. If the code is there for the sharing then once one changes it into something new, it seems fair to reason that it indeed becomes the creator’s own.  We all use the same alphabet and the same words but the ways in which writers put them together to make a book that is their own, is celebrated. Using open source to create a new or improved program could be seen as much of the same. Is the concept of personal gain from using open source code perhaps immoral given its grassroots beginnings? Perhaps. Is personal gain simply the nature of our capitalistic world?  Definitely!

          Open source certainly seems to be a cost effective route for non – profit, specialized industry and any other groups who would be interested in a unique program. I can for see many businesses and groups using this, if they have access to a programmer, they could easily customize a program for their company. These open source based programs wouldn’t need to have all of the unnecessary features found in many propriety programs for the masses and they also wouldn’t have the large price tag that comes along with a ‘do everything’ program.  I recently was the recipient of three netbooks for my classroom, all installed with Open Office on them.  I’m told all new computers going into the schools in the future will have Open Office as a money saving effort. In our world of purse tightening and cutting the fat it seems to me that open source products may very well be the way to go.

          I and many others enjoy the idea of supporting the ‘little guy’ or the underdog rather than supporting the large monopolizing groups such as Microsoft and Mac however, as a non – computer specialist, I also like the comfort and ease with which I can use these products. I think open source certainly could have applications to my life but I am not of the time or interest (or quite possibly ability?) to use and change open source material into something useful for myself. I like being able to turn on my computer and having it do everything I need it to do with the click of a mouse. I think this sentiment is echoed by many but there are certainly those who have the knowhow and interest who seek out open source material specifically so they can customize and use it to their full needs. Is this customizing practical for many or user friendly for the non- computer specialist? I’m not sure.

          The review and sharing nature of open source makes it seem more secure perhaps that closed source material where no one can see any hidden code or bugs. However, the flip side of open source is that perhaps a creator did embed a bug that is right out in the ‘open’ but unless one is a programmer, finding such a bug is impossible. For users such as financial institutions, health care users and other confidential matters this would be a concern if they were using open source code whereas at least with a propriety model there is some security in a well-known name or at least the front of perceived security. Until open source code programs become more user friendly and less intimidating for the computer novice, I don’t think we will see a huge change in the arenas that these sorts of products will be used. I think there will always be those who believe open source is the only pure use of code unaffected by the ‘establishment’ but that remains a niche pocket of programmers until open source code is less of a mystery to the average consumer.

          The current trend in cyber image creation seems to follow the old adage of less is more. Many websites seem to be opting for a more clean and simplified, and perhaps more user friendly version of a webpage as opposed to webpages of the past that had every counter, sound effect, and every option attached to it.  User friendly has become what is expected with easy to use and find back buttons that return you efficiently to a menu if you navigate to the wrong web destination.

          I’m not sure what technology is most engaging for developing cyber imaging but I have had most of my personal experience with Front Page and a dabbling in Dreamweaver.  Nowadays there seems to be many websites that you can simply plug your information into and your ‘customized’ site is prepared for you.

          In order to insure limited deterioration of ones cyber image contast updating is required. Our school ‘s web page is actually managed by our office assistant and she does a great job adding the new newsletter, quick messages to parents and any changes in the schools schedule. Most teachers have class webpages but these seem to be updated at varying levels of recent activity. For some teachers at my school they are using their class web pages to not only assign homework and post student samples, some are using this as a tool to post reminders to parents, using student assigned numbers only of outstanding work items. As far as using students‘images, work and names online, a media release form that needs to be signed by the guardians of the child is necessary. As well teachers could assign a student a number that only the student and his / her family recognize as their own to identify work samples. If photos/ video appear, perhaps the names do not accompany the images. Often it may be useful that when names are used online that only the student’s first name or initials are used.

Oh to dream… in a world where budgets would not be the deciding factor and student learning would dictate resources, my ideal classroom would look vastly different.

                In my educational utopia, there would be a very small class size, 15 or less. There would be true Educational Program Assistants (not just provided for students who have toileting needs or who are flight risks), who could assist in the learning of students who have a diagnosed learning disorder or those who just need that extra boost to keep on track. There would be an FM system in each classroom and a teacher computer that had an LCD/ Smart board. There would be enough computers available at all times for the whole class to use and learn with.  Students would have the use of cameras and video equipment, headsets with microphones. The software on computers would be cross curricular with an emphasis on the sciences, health and social studies as these subjects often seem to receive less funding, resources and PD time. Teachers would have access to PD opportunities throughout the year and on software of choice.  ‘Experts’ or those more comfortable with a certain software or technology would be available to come into classrooms and help students/teachers in learning how to use the program. Technology would be valued as important skills and knowledge. Technology would be validated as imperative to education by being assessed and added to the report card process.

The Elderly and Technology


                While the elderly in the past have been overlooked as technology users, it has become apparent that many seniors want and perhaps need to use technology to thrive into their older years.  My parents, once complete technophobes, (like the kind that didn’t know how to use ATM’s up until a few short years ago!), now Skype with us often to see their grandchild. My 86 year old grandfather took a ‘Computers for the Terrified’ course at the local community college and now loves to print off emailed pictures and to send email that updates us of his outings!


Systems like the one described above could allow elderly persons to live independently longer and still let their families and medical staff know how they are doing without feeling like they are being constantly monitored.  


Loneliness and boredom can be a frustrating part of growing older. Some ideas for helping elderly members of one’s family to stay connected via technology are highlighted at the above website.  

As banks proceed to provide fewer face to face services it’s important for seniors to be ‘in the know’ about banking fees and online banking. Most banks have a special information section for seniors. As some seniors may be new to online banking, they may not fully understand fraud attempts and other banking security issues. Sites like the ones below may be helpful for online protection and shedding light on important issues that come with using technology for banking purposes.



Thinking Computers

                The more plugged into technology that we get, the less plugged in to one another we become. I remember my sister telling me a story about going for ride in her friend’s car with three others present. All four people were using their cell phones to speak or text yet no one was talking to anyone else in the car!

                All too often our present society offers a way for people to live completely out of touch with others through their computers.  We can order in food online (take out or like the UK’s TESCO grocery delivery). We can rent movies (think Net Flicks) and we can chat via text, email, chat rooms, and blogs about our day to day lives. Some people even have the ability to work completely from home as well as take care of personal items such as banking, all from the comfort of their lazy boy! So, is there a trend that perhaps lessens our beliefs in technology and culture? Yes, I think many people have become aware of the pervasiveness of technology and have seen the dangers of allowing technology to become too much a part of our lives. Humans are social beings and perhaps it is unhealthy to live in such seclusion, perhaps that existence is not living at all! I think the pendulum has simply started to swing back again toward technologies more humble beginnings.

                At first, technology was for entrainment, for the sake of invention. To see if we could make a machine do a particular task just to see if it could do it. Then we wanted technology to do that task more efficiently. Next we wanted the technology to do the task better than a human could and then our next step is / was to get technology to take on the improvements/ developments completely on its own and eradicate the human component altogether. I think that last step has frightened some and some who have questioned what it means to be humans.  While I think computers will surpass humans in most areas of thought and work, I don’t think a computer could ever replace the emotional part of humans which drives so many things in our world.  I think the pendulum of technology embedded in our culture is experiencing a swing in the direction of  using technology as it best serves to make our lives easier but then not to allow it to continue to rule every aspect our of lives.

                There is a back to basics trend in food; many people are becoming backyard gardeners. Throw away lifestyles have become passé even though a few short years ago no one would have thought twice of buying a bottle of water and throwing that bottle away. The idea of enjoying family and the simple, non-materialistic things in life to escape the stress and pressures of work has become a trend as well. It only follows suit that there would be a trend in technology for people to perhaps unplug and spend time conversing, playing together or really enjoying any activity that wasn’t invaded by technology.

                I think teachers need to keep in mind two main ideas when it comes to technology and education:  

               1. Technology is here for the long haul. There is no sense in making it the forbidden fruit, our students will seek it out and use it whether we are on board with technology or not. We should be teaching our students how to use technology safely and properly. Also, if our job is truly to teach and to prepare students for the future than it is certain that technology must play some role in that preparation.

                2. Technology can be a great thinking tool! But it is that a tool, not a program, an end or a teacher in and of itself. Technology is not a replacement for quality teaching or student to student interactions.  In an increasingly technology driven society, students, perhaps more than ever, need to learn how to get along with one another, how to view things from another’s perspective and how manners, ‘netiquette’ , etc. to relate to the person that is surely sitting in the other side of their network.  Teachers need to be sure to use technology to develop the learning of our students while we remain focused on developing the student through the learning.


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